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Anyone familiar with Pastel Journal and the Pastel Pointers Blog knows that Richard McKinley is a generous and inspiring teacher and a consistent champion of both pastel and plein air painting. If you’d like a collection of some of the artist’s best advice on working en plein air, you’ll want to check out a new magazine download available now at www.northlightshop.com.
Within the sphere of pastels, there are varying degrees of stick firmness. The level of softness or hardness of a pastel stick is dependent on the individual pigment characteristics, the addition of inert compounds, and the composition of the binder holding the pigment together. Generally, pastelists categorize the sticks in their palettes as either soft or hard. The pigment may be the same between a hard and soft pastel stick, providing a similar hue, value, and chroma, but the firmness of the stick will ultimately have a profound effect on the application and its final appearance. When determining which firmness of stick is best for your specific painting needs, take these factors into consideration …
The 30 paintings that won awards in The Artist’s Magazine’s 2013 annual competition are splendid; wonderful, too, were the finalists in each category, which made our jurors’ decisions extremely difficult. We are grateful to our exacting jurors: Douglas Atwill, Ron Monsma, Amy Weiskopf, John Agnew, and Judith T. Greenberg. Read their comments on the winning pictures and their advice on entering this and any other competition.
Since pastel never dries to form a hard shell surface like an oil and acrylic painting, the ability to amend or entirely remove a signature can become problematic. This leads many pastelists to feel intimidated by an activity that should be filled with confident authorship. With practice and the possible use of alternative materials, any signature apprehension can be overcome.
Just beginning in watercolor or need to “brush up” on your watercolor lingo? Here’s a glossary of common watercolor terms: analogous colors: colors that are closely related on the color wheel casein: a fast-drying, water-soluble paint derived from milk protein, …
Photographing finished paintings can be one of the most frustrating aspects of painting, but still one of the most necessary. These photographic records are invaluable when reminiscing about past accomplishments, a necessity for entering most juried exhibitions, and a prerequisite for publication. Since most artists either sell or gift their works, it’s paramount to keep a high quality photographic record for future reference.
Framing can be one of the most costly aspects of our pastel painting careers. Frames are expensive, never mind the glass, mats, backing, and fitting charges when a professional framer is utilized. We invest in the hope that someone will open their wallet and purchase a painting, helping us to recoup some of our overhead. It’s a speculative business at best.
Pastel is unique among fine art media, because it doesn’t have an inherent binder to hold it onto a surface like all other forms of painting. This difference is one of the reasons it gets classified as a drawing medium in some circles. Pastelists, though, most often associate their intent with the act of painting. While the end result of painting with pastel may visually resemble binder-based paints, it does rely on one component that they do not. It requires enough tooth and surface density for adhesion.
The interaction between a painting medium and surface plays an integral part in an artist’s painting technique and the final appearance of the artwork. This is especially true with pastel. While wet media, such as watercolor and oil, are applied with a brush that is capable of pushing pigment into a porous surface, pastel is applied dry, relying on the textural nature of the surface for adequate adhesion.
Wondering how to display art on paper? Get advice from the pros: Litsa Spanos, Chris Morris and Craig Valentine of Art Design Consultants; Paul Schaff of Wellage and Schaff Fine Art Services; Michael Chesley Johnson, pastel artist; Jean Pederson, watermedia artist; and Michael Skalka, Chairman ASTM D01.57.